Friday, December 28, 2012

Scribbles and Photos

Reflections of Me
Renaming my blog turned out to be a bit more of an adventure than I had expected.  Not quite the dramatic story arc of the first season of Dexter (which I am mid-way through on this extended stay-cation) but an adventure none the less.

As an aside:  All photos in this post are of the Mirror Mirror Window -- one of Bergdorf Goodman's 2012 holiday windows (see The #BGWindows Follies for more photos from the #BGWindows).

Why rename it you might ask?  It's complicated.

Answer 1
I was bored.  Bored as in my living room has been arranged this way for too long and it's time for a change kind o' bored

Answer 2
The title was misleading.   Anyone stumbling on my blog might think it's a blog about traveling by its former title (The World Awaits Me) and it isn't.  While, sometimes it is but mainly it isn't.  For the record, travel posts are the most popular on the blog.  A sign that it is time to hit the road again.

A Handful of Mirrors
Answer 3
I'm remaking my home so why not the blog too?!  Change is good, right?

Answer 4
The title didn't fit who I am.  Now we're getting someplace.  Let's explore that a bit.

The World Awaits Me (TWAM) was just a bit too trite for me.  I know what I wanted to evoke when I chose it (adventure, optimism, curiosity).  And, to be fair, the title does evoke all of that but it misses the mark in terms of what I've been doing with this blog of mine.  It's mixed lot of posts, that's for sure.  There are the serious posts (Knowing, Remembering, Enough), the travel posts (Lions Eating Dinner, My Tofino, My Rapa Nui, Paradise Lost) and the photography buff posts (Wide Angle Fun, Lytro: A Cloudy Day Camera, The Cameras).  There's posts about Pinterest (My Online Gallery), a post about gardens (Southern Gardens), posts that are gardens (Tulip Pairings) and posts about spaces I dream of living in (White Box, Big Waves).  I've been mulling over the mismatch between TWAM and my posts for a couple of months now -- procrastinating (as always) because I thought it would be too hard to change and I didn't just want to abandon TWAM and start anew.

Turns out changing the name was the easy part -- finding a new name was much harder.   I thought I had hit upon it with "An Eclectic Woman" but alas that blogspot URL was taken by the Tasmanian Minimalist.  So I settled for "An Eclectic Mind" -- which lasted all of about 48 hours as I soon realized that Maria Langer is writing a quite wonderful blog on her website called (drum roll) An Eclectic Mind.

Mirror, Mirror Full Size
So the hunt began in earnest for a blog name (and corresponding URL) that would fit this blog.  OK, does anyone know how many "blog stubs" there are out there (my name, I think I'll trademark it).  What's a blog stub?  A blog with one post that was started and then abandoned.  There are also blog URLs with NO blog -- that are (mysteriously) unavailable.  And then there are blogs that look to have been quite wonderful but that have been abandoned, precipitously with no warning to readers or followers.  One wonders what happened to those bloggers and wishes they would come back to write one last good bye.  A blog suicide note as it were.  Or, if they've moved on to a new blog, a trail of bread crumbs to show the way to their new home.  Something.  Anything. (And, yes I left a note at TWAM saying I'd moved and giving my new address.)

Lest you think Scribbles and Photos is just a way station while I wrest one of those abandoned blog names out of Google, it is not.  It popped into my head as I was cleaning out drawers yesterday.  Not bureau drawers but desk and armoire drawers.  Drawers where papers and photos (and photo CDs) tend to collect.  I slept on it overnight, mulled it over today, and poked around on the Web to make sure no one else had had the same idea.  They hadn't and so I snagged it on blogspot and then I took the extra added step and snagged the domain -- www.scribblesandphotos.com  at GoDaddy.  In the last hour, I learned how to point my domain to my blog but have yet to learn how to "mask" my blogspot address.  Maybe something to look into tomorrow or next week or never.

For now, I am contentedly settling into my new home here at Scribbles and Photos.  Getting myself organized for a new year and wondering if Google images will now recatalogue all my photos to this URL.  Only time will tell.

Golden Reflections

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Nature's Gifts

Central Park on a Very Snowy Day
This morning, nature gave Connecticut a light dusting of snow.  Nothing even remotely close to the snows of Christmas' past but it will have to do.  Now, if I only had my boots!

 Merry Christmas everyone!

Snow Tracks







Friday, December 14, 2012

Enough is Enough

Through the Trees
Today, there was a massacre of children.  It is completely and totally heartbreaking.  It is also completely and totally senseless.

28 people are dead.  20 of them are children.  It is the second worst mass shooting in the United States.  The worst was at Virginia Tech in 2007.  32 people died that day.  The carnage today exceeds that of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School (13).  Worse yet, there have been 181 school shootings in the United States since Columbine.

Those were senseless events and this is a senseless event,

Once again, we are asking ourselves why.  We are holding vigils.  We are transfixed by the images of parents hugging their children.  They are the lucky ones.  Their children survived the carnage.    Once again, we are hearing stories of the teachers who hid kids in closets.  The responders who asked children to hold hands and close their eyes so that they would not see the carnage as they were led from the building.

Mercifully, the community has come together and shielded the parents and families of the dead from our prying eyes.  Even without seeing, we know their loss.  We are sending a national hug as our hearts break at the thought.  Mass shootings are senseless. Mass shootings involving children are unfathomable.

Who committed this act?  A 24-year old man with access to guns.

A Glock.  A Sig Sauer.  A semi-automatic rifle.

Recoleta Angel
We may never know what caused him to do this.    What we do know is how he did it.  He did it with those guns he carried.  And we know the first step we need to take on the road to making it harder for this to happen in the future.

We need to step up and tell the President and Congress that it is time to take action on gun control. Please sign this petition at www.whitehouse.gov:

Immediately address the issue of gun control through the introduction of legislation in Congress

Call or write your Congressional Representatives.

Find your representative in the House

Find your Senators

Tell them that the first step on the road to reducing gun violence in this country is reducing access to guns and ammunition.

Tell them all that enough is enough.  Tell them that we are better than this.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The #BGwindows' Follies


#BGWindows Upside Down Girl Band (Partying All Night)

OK, I admit it.  I am obsessed with the Bergdorf Goodman windows.   Bergdorf, with Saks and Lord & Taylor's (L&T) is the last of the grand dame department stores that used to line 5th Avenue.  Yes, Bonwit Teller still exists (just down the street from Bergdorf' as a matter of fact) but it is a pale shadow of what it once was -- a mish mash of items priced to sell to the hoardes of tourists that populate mid-town.  Bergdorf's (as my mother would say). on the other hand, remains the kind of store that is an destination in and of itself -- so big that it takes up not one but two street corners at 58th & 5th.  Now that's a store!

But I digress.  The 2012 Bergdorf holiday windows have been revealed!  And, oh what a wonder they are to behold.  Did I say I was obsessed?  

#BGWindows Featherful Under Construction
A small confession, I am not obsessed enough to wend my way to 58th and 5th during the wee hours of the morning – that time between dark and full daylight.  Urban legend has it that  this is the BEST time photograph them.  Instead, I just work my way around the crowds using a combination of Instagram, my Olympus, and my regular iPhone camera.  I have not yet tried the Lytro -- the depth of field isn't quite deep enough to suit that camera's particular niche but I'll tote it along next time I go to see what I can do.  

The 2012  windows are themed around the follies of the 1920s and, as always with Bergdorf’s, are  spectacular on a scale that no other retailer can quite match.  Even more fun -- this year Bergdorf has gone gaga over social media – their professional photos of the four 5th avenue facing windows can be found on 5th/58th (the BGblog). They've also posted a behind the scenes peek at what goes into creating these windows.  

An added bonus this year is that Bergdorf’s is running the #BGwindows Instagram challenge.  The prize?  A prop from the windows!  Oh, I don’t know quite what I would want if I were so lucky as to win.  The obvious choice – in the go big or go home scheme of things – would be the polar bear (although he is not appearing in the windows this year). He might not fit in my apartment though.  I think one of the smaller mannequins – with costume – would be my choice.  I've been particularly attracted to a small fairy in a corner  as attested to by my paparazzi-like stalking of her.  there is something so delicate about her.  And, as an added bonus, my Instagram of her (center image below) made it on to The Bergdorf Goodman Swipe over on Tumblr (where the hip that walk among us blog).  

#BGWindows Small Fairies in Corners (hanging out 24/7)
A girl can hope!

Herewith some shots taken over the last couple of weekends.  I am sure I will be visiting the #BGWindows several times between now and January 3, 2013 when Bergdorf begins the process of bringing in a new window display (by the by, the Bergdorf windows are worth a visit anytime of year -- this team is that good).  That is assuming the December 21, 2012 which is the end of the Mayan calendar is not also the end of the world!
#BGWindows Featherful Flirt (Day)
#BGWindows Featherful Flirt (Night)

#BGWindows Speak to Me (Day)
#BG Windows Speak for Me (Night)
#BGWindows Mirror, Mirror (Day)
#BGWindows Mirror, Mirror (Night)

#BG Windows Understudy (Day)
#BG Windows Supporting Actor (Night)

#BGWindows Upside down Girl Band (daytime play date)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Make It So

Fallen Trees
I always loved that moment in Star Trek: Next Generation when Jean Luc Picard (sexiest star ship captain ever) would say:  "make it so."  Because, inevitably, it would be so.

A while back, I penned a post, Pillbox Fill: An Idea for the 2013 FIRST Robotics Competition, that focused on creating a robotics competition that would raise intergenerational awareness.  For those of you who don't follow Robotics, the First Robotics competition is for high school aged kids.  Every year, teams from all over the world wait anxiously to learn what the next year's challenge will be.  They get their boxes filled with parts and then they build robots and then they compete in a raucous, controlled chaos fashion.

The central tenant of the post was that FIRST, which had been founded by Dean Kamen, should build a robotics competition wrapped in a social frame.  Specifically. I wanted a competition centered around older adults and activities of daily living.  Like Jean Luc Picard, I threw out an idea for a game but really left it to others to figure out how to "make it so."

Today, my brother forwarded me a notice about the First Lego League competition (FLL) and they did!   Make it so, that is.   Some housekeeping, FLL is also a FIRST program that is targeted at middle schoolers and which has a part of its mission that the challenges introduce kids to potential careers.

But back to that all important idea of making it so.  The Senior Solutions Challenge is everything that I asked for and then some.  My favorite part?  Every team has to identify a senior partner, get to know that person, learn what challenges they are facing, and then come up with a solution to that challenge.  All this on top of a robotics competition that is centered around missions focused on the themes of independence, engagement, and connection.  Themes that are incredibly important to older adults.  As delineated in the robotics game instructions:


Reflections
"In the Senior Solutions robot game, you and your robot will manage a mix of challenges and activities related to being independent, engaged, or connected. None of them really has to do with being “old,” but a few of them have a harder version and an easier version. As you notice how much harder the hard versions are, and design your robot to master them, imagine what innovative technical designs and improvements you could make in real life that would make life easier for seniors – for your loved ones, and for your future self!"

Unlike Jean Luc Picard, I can not claim cause (my blog post) and effect (the Senior Solutions Challenge) -- there are a lot of smart people out there that think about robotics competitions a whole lot more than I do.  Nor do I want to.

I just think it is so cool that there is a competition that has middle school kids thinking about solutions for the challenges of aging and opening their eyes to careers focused on helping older adults.  

Kudos to @Firstlegoleague for making it so!


Coronado at Sunset

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

After the Storm


Fallen Ginkgoes
I have this knack for being out of town when major weather hits and Super Storm Sandy was no exception.  As she barreled down on New York  City,  I was already safely out in southern California for a meeting.  And, there I stayed through Sunday, November 4th.  I returned to two New Yorks -- the upper West side where my apartment was unscathed and the South Street Seaport area where the building housing our offices is down and out for the count.

Uptown, Central Park saw some damage from the storm but they were well on their way to cleaning it up in preparation for running the 2012 NYC Marathon.  Although the official marathon was canceled, people showed up dressed to run it and with personal support crews in tow.  And run it they did even as the City began to break down the finish line.

Downtown, we'd been grappling with office displacement since the storm of the century ended and we were already up and running with web mail by the time I returned to the East coast.  The building is going to take a bit longer but they are working hard to repair the damages from the flooding.  In the meantime we went on an expedition today to retrieve several servers -- trudging up 18 floors to do so.  By tomorrow, we should have access to all data.  

All in all, we escaped quite lightly and count ourselves among the lucky.  Herewith a few photos from Central Park and today's expedition downtown.

Impromptu NYC Marathon - November 4, 2012



 .....the finish line (this is the closest I've ever been on marathon Sunday)....


How to Take Your Owner for a Walk




Sadly, Some Trees Were Down in Central Park

Given how much had already been cleaned up, it's hard to know how much damage there was in Central Park.  2011's October snow and hurricane Irene had both brought down a number of trees as did the micro burst that swept across the north end of the park in 2010.









South Street Seaport and Surrounds

There was a bustle of activity at Abercrombie & Fitch...


Otherwise the seaport was quiet today with stores and restaurants having an abandoned forlorn feel to them.  It was clear that some had started the long road to clean up as in this restaurant...


Others had merely boarded up their windows or maybe hadn't even stopped by at all.  The green/yellow placards indicate that a building has restricted access...



On Water Street, a lone worker wiped off cosmetics in the Duane Reade...



And another sat in a Starbucks  -- hopefully planning a comeback because that is the closest one to our office....


They had blocked off the section of the seaport closest to the river -- making for interesting patterns...

Lots of debris coming out of buildings.....


This orphan chair outside our loading dock (perchance Kenny's (who kept watch through the storm and has been tirelessly working to clean up our building?)...

The tourists are back in force...




St. Paul's Chapel - Trinity Church
A quiet place to end a walk through an area that was clearly hit hard but that is already coming back.  There was just a bit of damage along one side of the fence.  It remains a peaceful oasis.